ASK ANY SERIOUS watch collector and they’ll tell you that when it comes to designing and making fine timepieces, Grand Seiko can more than hold its own against the competition.
When you dig a little deeper, it’s clear why: its combination of enviable history, exquisite, timeless designs, and the ability to produce finely tuned proprietary movements have made the brand a hit with the cognoscenti.
Grand Seiko, as the name suggests, is the luxury branch of Seiko, the quintessential and universally known Japanese watchmaker. Seiko’s history dates all the way back to 1881, as a Tokyo watch shop set up by entrepreneur Kintaro Hattori, but the company entered arguably its golden era in the 1960s, which is when the Grand Seiko story began.
Throughout the decade, Seiko reinforced its reputation as a pioneer of new movements and styles, but the decade also saw the release of the first Grand Seiko in 1960.
Supremely elegant, highly accurate and a shining example of Japanese mechanical watchmaking, it was a launch that would lay the foundations for the ambition of the Grand Seiko brand in the modern day.
Nothing represents this ambition better than the Micro Artist Studio, a workshop based in Shiojiri with a relentless desire to create the most beautiful and technically innovative watches in the world. Today, Grand Seiko continues to innovate, fuelled by the endeavours of the Micro Artist Studio, and brought to life in the form of the brand’s iconic Masterpiece Collection.
Recent releases show the brand’s quest for innovation shows no sign of slowing down: just take the recent ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ release [pictured in top gallery], which features the stars above Achi encapsulated in a brilliant blue dial and textured bezel – and the Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8-Day, to name but two.
Both watches revolve around a modern version of the brand’s iconic Spring Drive, a revolutionary proprietary movement first introduced two decades ago, and used in new releases across Grand Seiko’s collections, from its core range up to the kind of limited-edition releases in the Masterpiece Collection that have since become some of the most highly sought-after watches in the world.
The Nature of Time
Throughout its history, Grand Seiko has kept front of mind a very important philosophy. Known as the Nature of Time, it’s a mixture of technical expertise with Japanese spirituality and an appreciation of the country’s unique natural landscape. For collectors who know the brand, it’s something that can help create a deep connection between them and their Grand Seiko watch, but it’s also something that keeps this iconic brand at the top of its game, with the Micro Artist Studio’s constant desire for innovation and evolution playing a crucial role in maintaining its position at the top of Japanese watchmaking, and among the very best brands in the world of horology.
While the technical innovation and the beauty of a Grand Seiko watch is clear even at a glance, a visit to the London boutique is the perfect opportunity to get to know a watchmaker that continues to set new standards more than 60 years into its story.
Visit the Seiko Boutique in Knightsbridge, or shop Grand Seiko online at seikoboutique.co.uk